Education Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed has been nominated Co-chair of the Commonwealth Platform for Girls’ Education.
The Platform will bechaired by UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson.
Introducing CS Amina Mohamed as Co-chair in London, Mr. Boris Johnson described girls’ education as a moral imperative and hailed Kenya for demonstrable efforts towards addressing barriers to girls’ education.
Accepting the nomination, Amb. Amina Mohamed stressed the importance of girls’ education adding that Kenya had stepped up various policy interventions to ensure girls have access to education up to the highest level of their capability and interest.
“In Kenya, we fully agree with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that girls’ education is a moral imperative. We also recognize that the education of girls is smart economics, given its potential to transform entire economies,” said CS Amina Mohamed.
Championed by the UK Foreign Secretary, the Platform for Girls’ Education brings together 12 leading advocates to build political will towards the achievement of ‘the 12 years of Quality Education for all Girls Campaign.’
“The campaign’s vision is to ensure that all girls get 12 years of quality education,” said Johnson.
“We want to break down the barriers preventing girls from gaining 12 years of quality education,improve the quality of teaching, support the reform of education systems and help the most marginalised girls to learn,” he added.
The Platform will seek to sustain momentum, influence debate, build political will and report back on delivery of declared commitments during the 2018-2020 period in which UK will be chair of the Commonwealth.
Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said that although Kenya has almost achieved gender parity in education, certain factors, social norms and practices continues to impede progress in girls’ education.
Said Amb. Amina Mohamed: “Among these key impediments is poverty, female genital mutilation which is estimated to affect 21% of girls in the 15-49 age group; early marriages with an estimated 23% of girls marrying before their 18th birthday especially in ASAL areas, abuse and gender-based violence, long distances to school and lack of hygienic wear for girls”.
The Cabinet Secretarysaid the government has taken a variety of steps to address these challengesincluding.
“Steps that we have taken to address these challenges include policy interventions to ensure readmission of girls who get pregnant while in school; outlawing FGM and introducing rescue centres for girls running away from FGM or early marriages;” said the CS.
“Other measures include provision of sanitary towels to girls in public primary schools and the introduction of free primary and secondary education to ensure no child, boy or girl, misses out on education due to poverty,” added Amb. Amina Mohamed.
The cabinet secretary further noted that despite these efforts, there is a 10% gender gap in the enrollment of girls adding that much more therefore remained to be done.
Amb. Mohamed called for enhanced collaboration between Commonwealth countries in addressing outstanding challenges to girls’ education, saying the campaign will help advance the agenda of girls’ education in the country.